Both the Dow and the Nasdaq ended the trading day in positive territory as Wall Street attempted to rebound from its worst performance of the year.
But the buying was tentative and limited, reflecting investors'
fears that more bad news is ahead for the markets and the economy.
The Nasdaq composite index remained below the 2,000 benchmark,
touching upon its lowest levels in more than two years.
At market close, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 83.19 to 10291.44. The Russell 2000 index was up 4.04 to 462.44.
In heavier-than-usual afternoon trading, The Nasdaq composite index was up 91.97 at 2015.35. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 15.66 to 1195.82, but still remains in bear market territory, more than 20 percent off its high.
"We've gotten down far enough that there is going to be some
bargain-hunting like what we're seeing today," said Richard
Dickson, technical analyst at Scott & Stringfellow. "But I don't
think we've put the low on the market yet. We're clearly still
correcting the excesses in some of the tech stocks."
The market's sour mood wasn't helped by a Commerce Department
report Tuesday showing sales at the nation's retailers fell by 0.2
percent in February, the first drop in three months. The weakness
was led by a sharp decrease in sales at furniture and home
furnishing stores and at bars and restaurants.
Motorola's announcement Tuesday that it was cutting 7,000
positions in addition to 5,000 previously announced added
to concerns about the future. The telecommunications company, which
blamed soft market conditions, rose 14 cents to $15.11.
Many analysts have said they expect stocks to continue to be
weak at least the next several months, in part because of dismal
earnings news. The Federal Reserve is expected to lower interest
rates for a third time this year when it meets Monday, but most
market watchers expect it to provide little spark for equities.
They say stock prices already factored in the effects of such a
``A lot of people had thought the Fed was going to be more
aggressive, but it hasn't been. People are going to be watching
that meeting carefully,'' said Todd Clark, co-head of trading at WR
Declining issues led advancers 2 to 1 on the New York Stock
Exchange. Volume came to 902.18 million, compared with 783.10
million at the same point Monday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report